Blast from the past, a comic series from the 70s…

Yoko Tsuno: TWO-IN-ONE: Unterirdische Begegnung / Die Orgel des Teufels
by Roger LeloupHarald Sachse (Translator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two issues collected in one softcover edition, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German comics publisher Carlsen, translated into German from the original French.

Roger Leloup is a Belgian comic strip artist, novelist, and a former collaborator of Hergé, for whom he created drawings for The Adventures of Tintin. He is most famous for the Yoko Tsuno comic series, which was first published in 1970. (info transcribed from Wikipedia)

The first issue, Yoko tsuno le trio de l’etrange (CROSS OVER, was published in 1972. Yoko Tsuno and her colleagues get sucked into an underground world while scuba diving and meet aliens living in a subterranean colony. It‘s an SF adventure story with quite a lot of action and conflict. The story was not my cup of tea, I skimmed through the last few pages.

The second issue in this collection is L’Orgue du diable, first published in 1973. Katz Castle, a real castle towering above the river Rhine, and its surroundings are the place of action for this one. This part of the Rhine Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I have come past this particular stretch by train many times, trying to catch a glimpse of the Lorelei from my train window. The first frame of this comic gives a realistic view of the setting…

(Photo at the top taken from Wikipedia)

Here is the text of Heinrich Heine‘s poem Die Lorelei with an English translation:
https://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/sites/defaul…

Anyway, back to Yoko Tsuno! Another mystery, this time a less speculative story, about a massiv pipe organ. I liked the artwork depicting real settings. But generally, as mentioned above already, this type of comic is not really my thing. Not bad, but I won‘t pick up any other issues of this series.

My January 2022

And the first month of the year is over already! Here is what read, listened to and watched…

Activation Degradation ★★★★☆, audio, SF, not Murderbot, just ignore that. Different take on robots/cyborgs/AI.
Cursed ★★★★½, Alex Verus #2, ebook, UF, wizards in London battle it out, good fun.
Black Powder War ★★★☆☆, Temeraire #3, ebook, Fantasy, the way back from China to Europe over land, with stopovers in Istanbul and Prussia, set in 1806.
– Fruiting Bodies ★★★★★, short story, SF Horror, a little creepy.
– Life on Earth ★★★★☆, audio, TBR pile, David Attenborough narrates his book, natural history.
– The Sweet Rowan ★★★★¼, ebook, TBR, sweet Regency romance, set in Scotland, with a wee bit of magic.
– Saga #55 ★★★★☆, eComic, SF, finally back after three years of waiting.
– The Marrow Thieves ★★★☆☆, ebook, TBR, dystopian YA set in Canada. People have lost the power to dream, except for indigenous people, who are hunted for a cure.
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paper, DNF after 84 pages reading and skimming to 150 pages / 55%. Travel anecdotes, nice enough, but very repetitive.

Still reading, carry over into February:
Fire and Ice: The Volcanoes of the Solar System, audio. Fascinating!

Specfic Movies & TV watched:
– The Expanse, S6, Ep. 3-6 ★★★★☆ Season finished. They went off script quite a bit. Not sure yet how much I liked this.
– Foundation, S1, Ep. 4-10 ★★★★★ Season finished. Excellent!
– Venom ★★★¾☆ Entertaining and a little too silly.
– Kingdom, S1, Ep. 1-3 ★★★☆☆ Korean zombie series in a historical setting. Unintentionally funny at times. Different. The people in this have the survival instincts of gnats.

Some StoryGraph statistics:

(yes, the last and first page counts are different, I updates something in between screen shooting the stats… 😝)

Book haul

Yes, yes, I do not want to buy new books, instead I want to reduce my TBR pile of owned books. What can I say, I am weak on occasion… I rarely get to visit well-stocked bookshops, so when I do, the temptation is just too great. I am lucky I got out of there with only three new books!

Besserwissen mit dem Besserwisser (Better knowledge with the know-it-all: This is how you train your general knowledge)
by Sebastian Klussmann

The quiz champion reveals his easy way to more general knowledge.
When was the Prague Defenestration? How many bits are in a byte? What is the name of the capital of Bolivia? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a job, aptitude test, job interview or conversation at a party – with good general knowledge you can score points everywhere. Sebastian Klussmann, popular hunter from the successful German quiz show “Gefragt – Gejagt” reveals how you can increase your knowledge without much effort. For example, when you go on a walk through the city and find out to whom a street name goes back to. Or explores geography through football. Or combine topics with emotions by letting grandmother show you your favorite flowers in the garden. An entertaining book that helps you to simply educate yourself – up to quiz maturity.

Translation of the German book blurb

Why did I get this book? I like the quiz show and I like him. My mum does so as well and I got this partly to share it with her.

Der neunte Arm des Oktopus: Thriller (The Ninth Arm of the Octopus)
by Dirk Roßmann

A climate alliance – our last chance? Climate change – a catastrophe of unforeseen proportions is upon us. But then the superpowers China, Russia and the USA are taking a radical path: They are forming a climate alliance to save the earth. Their demands dramatically interfere with people’s lives, and not everyone wants to accept that. The opponents are willing to do whatever it takes. The situation comes to a head – and suddenly the fate of us all lies in the hands of an anxious cook and an inconspicuous secret agent.

Translation of the German book blurb

Why did I get this book? Because my mum keeps mentioning it and also its sequel. So another one to read and share with her. I actually think the blurb sounds a bit silly. China, Russia and the USA form an alliance. And pigs fly. Anyway….

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders 
by Joshua Foer,  Dylan Thuras,  Ella Morton

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscuracelebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. […]

Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book you can open anywhere.

Part of the book blurb

Why did I get this book? Because it is pretty! And it shows lots of weirdly interesting places. A great coffee-table book and conversation starter. And yes, I will share it with my mum. Trivia is fun! Geography is cool!

The matching website is here: https://www.atlasobscura.com

Monthly wrap-up

My October 2021:

– Ancillary Mercy ★★★★★ audio, Imperial Radch #3, re-read. I really liked this. Not sure what I did during the first read, but I definitely did not pay attention, because I barely remembered any of this. Great fun, I loved all the AIs and their dynamics. And Translator Zaiat was precious.
We Have Always Been Here ★★★★☆ ebook, colony ship (is it?), AI, a litte horror, mystery, dystopia.
– Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen ★★★★☆ audio, about institutionalized racism in Germany and the experiences of a black woman growing up in Cologne. Not bad, a bit on the shallow side. Very readable.
– Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora★★★★☆ ebook, #ReadBIPOC2021, TBR pile, Netgalley. This is a very strong anthology. Even the stories that didn‘t fully grab me gave me plenty to think about. Recommended! 
– Dark Path ★★★☆☆ ebook, TBR pile, mystery fluff. Buddhist forensic pathologist solves a case in Florida.

Short stories:
– The Lottery ★★★★☆ online. Famous story by Shirley Jackson from 1948.
– You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me, Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018 ★★★★☆ online. About a trans man and his Jurassic Park-inventing dad.
– You Perfect, Broken Thing, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020★★★★☆ online. Dystopia? Winning a race to stay alive…

Poetry:
– Uncanny Magazine Issue 41: July/August 2021 ★★★★☆ online, I read three of the four poems, about Japan and sacrifice, Beowulf and Madame Curie, here: https://uncannymagazine.com/issues/un…
– What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate, Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017 ★★★★☆ online, pretty amusing poem.
– A tenjō kudari (“ceiling hanger” yōkai) defends her theft, Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020 ★★★★☆ online, a spectre gets her revenge.

Currently reading:
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paperback, TBR pile
– The Resurrectionists, ebook, Netgalley, TBR pile

Abandoned reread:
– BR zombie Persepolis Rising, audio, Expanse #7, re-read
– BR zombie Tiamat’s Wrath, audio, Expanse #8, re-read

Movies & TV watched:
– No Time to Die ★★★★★, last 007 with Craig, cinema.
– Smoking Aces ★★¾☆☆, action thriller comedy with lots of blood, pretty pointless. 

Nonfiction by Authors of Color 

Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen (Aber wissen sollten)
by Alice Hasters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I started the audiobook two days again and don‘t really have much to add to that post. Alice Hasters is a German journalist, writing about institutionalized racism in Germany, drawing from her own experiences growing up in Cologne.

I don‘t think this book has been translated into English. The title would be: What white people don’t want to hear about racism (but should know)

“May I touch your hair?”, “Can you get sunburn?”, “Where are you from?” Those who ask such questions usually don’t mean it badly. But still: they are racist. White people often don’t want to hear why. Alice Hasters explains it anyway. She vividly and patiently describes how racism shapes her everyday life as a black woman in Germany. It becomes clear that racism is not just a problem on the far-right of society. And confronting your own racism is painful at first, but the only way to overcome it.

Translation of the German book blurb

I chose the audiobook, narrated by the author. I was pretty hesitant about picking it up, not wanting to be told what a horrible, privileged and racist person I am. Plus, the reviews that I looked up were allover the place and, expectedly, very controversial and critical. 

I liked the book. Hasters writes well, narrates well, gives good examples and presents her arguments objectively. The book doesn‘t delve deeply into the topic and is surprisingly non-critical. Quiet a short piece, a bit on the shallow side. A good starting point.

Link to the October topic for my #ReadPOC Challenge: Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color!

Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color! 

The October topic for my #ReadPOC October Challenge is: Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color!

I picked a book by a German journalist, writing about institutionalized racism in Germany. The book is based on experiences from her own life, aka mostly set up as a memoir.

Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen (Aber wissen sollten)
by Alice Hasters

I don‘t think this book has been translated into English. The title would be: What white people don’t want to hear about racism (but should know)

Translation of the German book blurb:

“May I touch your hair?”, “Can you get sunburn?”, “Where are you from?” Those who ask such questions usually don’t mean it badly. But still: they are racist. White people often don’t want to hear why. Alice Hasters explains it anyway. She vividly and patiently describes how racism shapes her everyday life as a black woman in Germany. It becomes clear that racism is not just a problem on the far-right of society. And confronting your own racism is painful at first, but the only way to overcome it.

I am about a third into the audiobook, narrated by the author. I was pretty hesitant about picking it up, not wanting to be told what a horrible, privileged and racist person I am. Plus, the reviews that I looked up were allover the place and, expectedly, very controversial and critical. About three hours into the audio I like it a lot. Hasters writes well, narrates well, gives great examples and presents her arguments objectively. Full review to come…

My September 2021

Here is what I read in September:

Ancillary Sword ★★★★★ audio, Imperial Radch #2, re-read. I remembered most of this and this time around liked it better than #1. Loved Dlique and Tisarwat.
– Return to the Center of the Earth ★★★★☆ KU, sequel, re-tracing the steps of Jules Verne. Brain candy. Fun!
– Babylon’s Ashes ★★★★☆ audio, Expanse #6, re-read
– City of Bones ★★☆☆☆ ebook, dystopian fantasy by Martha Wells. Not enough sarcastic AIs. I liked parts of it a lot, but as a whole it didn‘t excite me. I pretty much skimmed through the second part, because I didn‘t care.

Poetry:
– “You’d Have Me Be White” by Alfonsina Storni, https://betterthanstarbucks.wixsite.c…, ★★★★★, feminist poetry, made me smile and nod my head…
– Scifaikuest Online, https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikue…, ★★★★½, great SF haikus
– “Among the Scythians“, Deborah L. Davitt, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #49, August 1, 2021, ★★★☆☆, https://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.co…
– Horrific Punctuation, poetry, KU, DNF, my ebook was barely readable and the poetry too abstract.

Comics:
– The White Trees #1 ★★★★☆, KU, eComic, high fantasy, x-rated, ex-killer has to pick up his weapons again to save his family
– The White Trees #2 ★★★☆☆, eComic, not as good as the first issue

Return To The Center Of The Earth by Greig Beck Horrific Punctuation by John Reinhart Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey The White Trees #1 by Chip Zdarsky The White Trees #2 by Chip Zdarsky City of Bones by Martha Wells Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch #2) by Ann Leckie 

Currently reading:
– Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ebook, #ReadBIPOC2021, TBR pile, Netgalley
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paperback, TBR pile
– Ancillary Mercy, audio, Imperial Radch #3, re-read

Planned, but lacking in motivation:
– Persepolis Rising, audio, Expanse #7, re-read
– Tiamat’s Wrath, audio, Expanse #8, re-read
I might abandon the plan to read those two and just jump to the new book…

Movie watched:
– Dune ★★★★★ — I considered deducting a star, because it‘s only „Part One“. I was pretty frustrated about that. The beginning took forever! Is Caladan supposed to be Caledonia, aka Scotland? Never really thought about that before. My first visit to a cinema since 2019! 

First Line Friday in German

First Line Friday is a meme created by Hoarding Books. Feel free to head over there, have a look around, grab your nearest book and post its first line in the comments there and in your blog.

I have a few books in German lingering on my TBR- and currently-reading shelf. One of them I have been taking along to the communal pool… it‘s a fun read, actually, so it will come along on my holiday as my summer read…

No, that photo does not show my communal pool….. 😜

Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht (Tietjen on tour: Why camping makes me happy) by Bettina Tietjen

Translation of the German book blurb:

I am a guest in a hotel, I am at home in my camper

Whether on Corsica or in the Swedish forests, Bettina Tietjen has happily parked her motorhome forwards, backwards and sideways for many years. She and her family enjoy life without a dress code or a fixed destination – and if the weather is bad, you simply drive to another place. Her declaration of love for camping is about freedom under the starry sky, the search for the best place for a van and a hammock, it’s about hot tent neighbors, animal visitors and other strange encounters. For example, when someone exclaims enthusiastically while emptying the smelly chemical toilet: “Ms. Tietjen, is it really you? I know you from TV! ”- these are camping moments that you will never forget.

Yes, we camp!

The sympathetic presenter and bestselling author lets us look behind the curtains of her camper

From the German book blurb

And the first sentence, translated from the original German:

„Could you just take off your sun glasses?“ The man stands so closely to me, that his belly almost touches me.

„It‘s really me“, 1st line of the 1st chapter

Summing up that readathon.

As expected, I didn‘t get a lot of reading done today. I slept for about seven hours. And spent about eight more hours at a birthday party. One and a half hours at a friend‘s place before the party, some time spent looking after my tomatoes and baking bread…

In the end I only managed to read for 3 hours and 30 minutes.

And now… good night! I am going to sleep in tomorrow morning and hopefully I will make some more serious progress with my current reads.

Dewey‘s Reverse Readathon

I just signed up for Dewey‘s Reverse Readathon. Spontaneously and rather foolishly. It will start in a little less than 3 hours, at 2 a.m. my time. When I will most likely be in bed, I am really tired already! Well, maybe…. I just started a batch of sourdough bread and need to do another two stretch-and-folds. Anyway… I can read a bit in the morning. In the afternoon I am at a birthday party and I might be there quite a long time. Maybe more reading in the last hours of the readathon. I will definitely not be around a lot for this one. We‘ll see!

More about this readathon here: WHAT IS DEWEY’S 24-HOUR READ-A-THON? | Important Links

I feel a little lost, actually, as I haven‘t done any of the preppy things. Oh well, I will check in when I can. And I will set up my timer to keep at least some kind of track of my reading. There is a bingo card for updates to Instagram…

Current bookstack:

Paper: Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht by Bettina TietjenYes, we camp! Well, I don‘t actually. But I like the author, a German TV journalist and talk show host.

Audio #1: Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, #6) by James S.A. Corey — re-read of the Expanse series.

Audio #2: Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie — re-read

eBook #1: Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (ebook) by Zelda Knight

eBook #2: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1) by Jordan L. Hawk

Graphic novel: Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Black Barn (Kindle Edition) by Jeff Lemire